Sunday, December 11, 2005

Well-Mannered Frivolity

Christmas season has made me so joyful. I'm concerned for an abrupt crash in spirits after the fact, but I will jump off that bridge when I get to it. It's hard to believe that I only have a week and a half of classes before the big break. And then just one semester after that. Crazy.

I really do love living here. On Friday I went shopping and actually understood the clerk when she told me what my total came seems a small thing, but it kept me grinning the rest of the night. The fact that I can do simple things like ask and answer questions, buy train tickets, etc...all in Hungarian...really make me happy. I'm hoping to make more progress, I admit that I've been extremely lazy where Hungarian lessons are concerned. I feel bad for my teacher, Greta, because I just don't have the time to put in the work. But slowly it will come.

I've also been feeling a wonderful joy toward my classes. We had so much fun last week, that I hope it's not just because they're anxiously awaiting the break. I actually had one student tell me that my class is his favorite class (yay!) which is such a great thing for a teacher to hear. I also recieved a Christmas present from another class, which was really sweet. Everything seems to be coming together...the puzzle pieces are fitting. It's really nice. "Nice" is such a bland word, but that's really the best way to say it. Some classes I'm still not sure of, behavior-wise, lessons-wise, but I'm making headway which is all I can ask.

This is the advent service at school. Every Friday another class of seniors go up on stage, light the advent wreath, and sing some songs. This past week it was in German and a bit in English...very nice. I made a nice movie from it with my camera and now have to figure out how to send it to people and/or put it online. Hm...

This is the Christmas Market (WeihnachtsMarkt) at the RatHaus Platz in Vienna. Good stuff, only a bit crowded. The blue windows you see are a giant advent calendar and every day they "open" a new window. It's really quite fun. No chocolates, though...I must say I prefer the advent calendars that have the chocolate.

This is the New Orleans Gospel Choir rockin' out the Lutheran church in Sopron. It was the most amazing thing...standing room only at the church (which was quite a sight) and Hungarian little old ladies clapping their hands to the praise Jesus-beat. It was fabulous. My favorite part was "Silent Night." The choir invited everyone to sing in their native language so we heard Hungarian, German, and English going on. Everyone was standing and holding hands and singing praises about our Lord and Savior's birth. Awesome is the only word I can think of that even comes close to encompassing the experience. It was unfortunate that Rachel and I missed the 5pm train back to Sopron (from Vienna) and so we missed about 45 minutes of the concert. But what can you do when you're at the mercy of the whims of the Central European train system?